Rahul Gandhi has a history of giving prominence to politicians who win elections by giving them plum positions in the party and thereafter monopoly within the party. Rahul Gandhi has show cased this several times, in several manners and in several states. Rajiv Satav was given prominence in the Youth Congress because of his electoral victory in Maharashtra. Jitendra Singh of Alwar was given prominence in the AICC post his Alwar victory but sidelined very soon thereafter.
Ashok Tanwar of Haryana, who once was the charismatic national leader of the youth congress is no longer in the same league as he used to be before. Brings us to the question, what exactly is Rahul Gandhi looking for in his state leaders? Who will he empower and why? Is it even a goal for him to empower the cadres?
The Congress party has lost its foothold in most states in India. There is hope for the Congress party in some states. Uttarakhand is one of those states. However, the weak leadership demonstrated by the President of the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress has brought dismay to even the slightest hope garnered by the Congress workers of Uttarakhand. Why is Pritam Singh of Uttarakhand a failed leader?
To answer this questions, one would need to ask a more introspective question, what does Rahul Gandhi see in Pritam Singh? Does Pritam Singh have any merit to hold the position of the President, Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress?
Pritam Singh may have won his constituency four times. However, Chakrata is not Uttarakhand. Chakrata does not even remotely demonstrate, depict or point to the large socio-political canvas that Uttarakhand is. Uttarakhand is a diverse state. There are 69 other constituencies in Uttarakhand and all of them are different from Chakrata. The seats of Garhwal, the seats of Kumaon and the seats of Tarai all have their unique distinct character. Winning a seat like Chakrata is a narrow dynamic. However the same management techniques cannot ensure cadre growth in the entire state of Uttarakhand.
At this point, Uttarakhand needs a PCC chief who can grow the party at the grass root level. Uttarakhand Congress needs to rebuild its cadres and show organizational vision and institutional discipline. However, whether Pritam Singh with his limited exposure just to Chakrata assembly (vidhan sabha) constituency can accomplish this Herculean task is yet to be seen. Rahul Gandhi could not have chosen worse timing to appoint Pritam Singh as the PCC chief.
At a time when the party needs vigour and enthusiasm, connect with youth, minorities and upper caste voters of Uttarakhand, Rahul Gandhi chose a nobody, an irrelevant candidate who has no other merit than a four time victory from a place called Chakrata where the light of the new age has still not reached. If Pritam Singh has a unique accomplishment, then it clearly is that of not having brought any development to the severely backward area of Chakrata.
Had Rahul Gandhi done preliminary research about developmental work and governance in Chakrata, he would have learnt that the people of Chakrata lead extremely difficult lives. In fifty years, there has been no development, no growth, no change, no hope for the people living there. The involvement of the mafia in Chakrata under the guardianship of Pritam Singh is a well kept secret of Uttarakhand.
Rahul Gandhi has either not checked these credentials, or his vision for Uttarakhand is probably to make it like Chakrata. To promote unemployment, illiteracy, backwardness- why else would he choose a leader of Pritam Singh’s caliber to become the chief of Uttarakhand.
If winning elections is the only criterion – why did Rahul Gandhi not stop Kunwar Pranav Champion from leaving the Congress party? Why did he not stop Yashpal Arya from leaving the party? Why could they not have been the PCC chief? Why Pritam Singh?
His personal failures shall finish the Congress. The Congress needs to introspect and act.